CEO of Failed Lehman Bros. Looks Back


He used to insist on facing the restaurant door; lately, he's been seen facing the wall.

"He got such negative press -- they made him out to be this devil," said one past associate. "So I think he's embarrassed to be seen in public, afraid someone is going to throw a pie in his face."

The former CEO has been named in nearly 40 different legal actions since Lehman went bankrupt, most of which were filed by cities and pension funds that claim he and other Lehman executives led them into making bad investments.

More than a dozen suits were filed by former employees of the firm who claim that Lehman's executives allowed imprudent investments in the firm's stock for employee savings plans.

Fuld is also one of a dozen Lehman executives subpoenaed for three different grand jury probes charged with investigating Lehman's collapse. He declined to comment on the state of those investigations.

Fuld Scales Back

Fuld was far from immune to the financial impact of the collapse. He is estimated to have lost more than $1 billion as Lehman's shares sank, and in the months following the bankruptcy, Fuld and his wife, Kathy, began selling luxurious property and expensive art.

The Fulds own at least four properties -- an estate in Greenwich; a mansion on Jupiter Island, Florida; a home in Middlebury; Vermont and the house in Ketchum.

They sold their apartment on New York's Park Avenue for $25.87 million in August, having bought it for $21 million in January 2007 and done a multimillion dollar renovation.

A source close to the couple said Kathy, who was often seen shopping at places like Hermes, buying items such as bags and shawls that cost a few thousand dollars each, has not been seen at such stores in the past few months.

"It could be that they're pulling back the spending or it could be that she doesn't want to be seen spending, so she could be having someone else do the shopping for her," the person said.

Kathy, who sits on the board of trustees for the Museum of Modern Art and is known for her love of drawings, has sold at least 16 drawings by artists such as Arshile Gorky and Barnett Newman for around $13.5 million.

"I know it's been hard. From what I saw he was a wonderful father and a great husband," said Paul Assaiante, who through the years played squash with Richard Fuld and tennis with Kathy.

But they haven't played a single squash game since Lehman's demise, said Assaiante, who coaches teams at Trinity College.

Over the same period, Fuld, who has two daughters and a son, has dropped off the boards of the Robin Hood Foundation, which supports New York City anti-poverty groups; the Partnership for NYC, an economic development network; and the Blind Brook Country Club in Purchase, New York.

Meanwhile, he has not been chartering private jets for his trips to Idaho -- instead flying Delta Air, according to residents of Ketchum, a little town also known for residents such as actor Tom Hanks, and the place where Ernest Hemingway is buried.

Indeed, Fuld flew back to New York early Saturday morning on a Delta flight. He had connected through a SkyWest flight from Hailey, Idaho, to Salt Lake City, Utah that was also taken by the Reuters reporter.

On the twin turbo-prop jet, he was reading David Wessel's book, "In Fed We Trust," which looks at the Federal Reserve's role in the financial crisis, and could be seen underlining various passages.

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